There are a lot of things to consider when you start to shop around for which ISP (internet service provider) is right for your home or business. The fact that you found this article means that you are doing your due diligence in making sure that you get the best service for your needs possible. It all starts with knowing which information you need to gather, and then taking the time to actually call each and every provider that is an option in your area. I’d recommend taking notes as you are going to be left with a lot of information to remember. Here are the most important factors in our opinion.
1. How fast is it?
This is going to be one of the things that every single ISP brags about. But be careful, just because they say they offer “gigabit” doesn’t mean that they actually offer it to YOU. You’ll also want to ask about not only the download speeds, but how fast you can upload. This becomes important if you plan on chatting via video or using a VOIP phone service at your house. Your friends and family aren’t going to love giving you a video call if your picture is uploading slow. Depending on where you live you should expect download speeds above 100 megabits and upload speeds above 20 megabits. This is enough speed for watching your favorite Netflix or uploading photos to your favorite shared family album. Once you have signed up for the best ISP in your area you will want to test the speed to make sure you are actually getting what they say you are. The best service for testing the speed of your internet in our opinion is http://speedtest.net.
2. How much does it REALLY cost?
Is there an extra monthly fee for a modem? Do you HAVE to buy their modem or can you use your own (this also comes into the speed factor)? Just like with your Cell Phone company, ISP companies love to sneak in extra charges. Ask them for an exact monthly breakdown of the cost including all taxes and fees before signing up.
3. How much WILL it cost in the future?
This is one of the biggest traps that people fall into. You’ll sign up for an ISP based on a great intro offer, but then be trapped in a contract for an additional 12 months at a ridiculously high price. When comparing ISPs and looking at pricing, make sure you ask them for the AVERAGE monthly cost for the ENTIRE contract. Don’t get swept away by a great looking introductory offer.
Choosing an ISP is an important decision. It will affect your day to day life as much as making sure you have running water and working electricity. Consider your options carefully and make sure to do ALL your research before signing any contract. After you’ve signed up, make sure you are actually getting what you are paying for.